It’s been just over 9 months since I decided to consider others and not just myself. Think of sustainability, compassion and health – and adopt a vegan diet.
When I put it like that, for me it really was a simple choice – be kind, or be cruel. Cruel to animals, cruel to future inhabitants of this planet and cruel to myself or kind to all three?
Triggered by a combination of watching some interesting documentaries on Netflix, speaking to others and going through a break-up, I felt that there was no better time to make the switch.
Currently I’m at a midway point to a fully “vegan” lifestyle – while the things I put into my body aren’t the bi-product of animals, the things I put on it may still be – cosmetics, clothes and shoes – I’m getting there slowly but I’m comfortable with that, for now.
I know that I’ve purchased leather shoes and handbags in the past – and they’ll last some time before they need replacing, but I have them for now, and rather than throw them away and see a life wasted even further I’m comfortable using them until I can purchase a synthetic alternative.
I still have cosmetics with honey or milk in which are slowly coming to an end – and I’ll see them through until they’re finished.
Right now, to me, being vegan isn’t about perfection (although as a self-confessed perfectionist with OCD it’s pretty hard to try not to be), it’s about being as compassionate as I can be in my lifestyle choices and avoiding cruelty and exploitation where possible.
But how simple has it been?
Quite easy at first, tough in the middle, and so much better right now – but I’m only 9 months in.
I went from meat-eater to vegan within a day. I didn’t veer toward being a pescatarian, vegetarian and then vegan – no – I just opted to make the change.
I’ve often been told I’m an “all-or-nothing” kind of person, maybe it was that.
Now, any change in diet where you begin to cut things out, will always yield temptation, and I’m sorry, but I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t.
Having attempted to remove all the animal bi-products from my kitchen cupboards, by eating them or passing them on to others , and not having others whispering in my ear telling me that the change I was about to make was a bad one – within days that temptation disappeared.
I had slip-ups – I remember heading to the “free from” aisle in Asda and picking up some brownies only to realise after eating one that they were only dairy free and not egg free.
Another time I was so hungry on a long journey home after a heavy weekend at a festival that I ordered a veggie burger at Burger King but forgot to ask for it without cheese – I ate it.
Hangovers can sometimes be the worst – when those cravings your body tells you it has kick in and you want something greasy. I’ve even found myself craving KFC even though I’ve previously never opted to eat chicken, or KFC – but those cravings soon subside as you rid your body of the addictive ingredients it was so used to getting before.
And just for the record bacon is not one of the things I miss most.
I gave myself a pretty hard time after the slip ups above – but I’ve realised now that I’m not perfect, and that’s where cooking has helped.
Experimenting with and finding new flavours means that not every dish I try turns out well, not all food works in combination and there will be some things that can’t be supplemented, but the excitement of finding all this out means that I don’t need to be tempted or miss things when there is plenty more food with colour to discover and mess to make in the kitchen.
If you’re considering making the transition and aren’t sure where to start, some of these great resources may help, but I’m always down for new friends, so get in touch…